Many European recipes call for vanilla sugar. This kind of sugar is available in every supermarket and is as popular as vanilla extract in other countries like the US. Usually, it’s not a problem to substitute vanilla extract for vanilla sugar – in cakes, cookies or custards for instance. But sometimes it’s not possible to replace vanilla sugar. One of this kind is the recipe for vanilla crescents (Austrian Vanillekipferl). For the cookie dough, you can use vanilla extract instead of sugar, but for the sugar coating you cannot use the liquid extract.
So if you live in a country where vanilla sugar isn’t as common as in Europe, you can either buy it, usually overpriced, in deli-shops or make your own. In the recipe-part below you will find different ways to do that. This is my prefered method when making Vanillekipferl. It’s low cost, rather quick and easy.
Homemade vanilla sugar
Mix 7 tablespoons powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon vanilla exctract (no artificial ones/no imitations) into a paste.
Spread the paste with a spoon on a sheet of wax or parchment paper to dry. Usually the drying process takes 1 day. If you are in a hurry, you can put the paste into the oven at low temperature.
When the paste is dry, break it into pieces and powder it with the back of a spoon.
To get a fine texture, you have to push it through a sieve using your fingers. If the vanilla sugar still feels slightly moist, let dry for another hour or two if being used in recipes like Vanillekipferl (vanilla crescents).
Homemade vanilla sugar
(makes about 3 tablespoons concentrated vanilla sugar, my prefered method for Vanillekipferl-coating)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (no artificial ones/no imitations)
7 tablespoons powdered/confectioners/icing sugar
(makes 1 cup powdered vanilla sugar, f.e. for Vanillekipferl-coating)
1 vanilla bean
1 cup powdered sugar
(makes 1/2 cup granulated, concentrated vanilla sugar, for any use)
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup granulated sugar
If you don’t have vanilla sugar on hand, you can make your own by mixing powdered sugar and vanilla extract to a paste.
Spread the paste onto a slip of wax or parchment paper and let dry for about 1 day. If you are in a hurry let the paste dry in the oven at low temperature, not more than 150 °F.
When the paste is dry, break it into pieces and powder them with the back of a spoon.
To get fine powder, press the coarse sugar through a sieve using your fingers. Do so some hours before you start baking, in case the sugar still feels moist when sifting. That way you will have enough time to let it dry completely if necessary. Congrats, you've just produced your own vanilla sugar. If mixed with 1 cup powdered, sifted sugar you can use it for coating vanilla crescents (Vanillekipferl).
You could also slice 1 vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into 1 cup powdered sugar. Cut the rest of the bean in pieces and add them to the sugar. Place in an airtight container over night. Remove bean pieces and sift before use. This method is a good one if you need vanilla flavored powdered sugar such as for vanilla crescents. Note: There will be some visible vanilla seeds on the Vanillekipferl.
Method 3 (long term project)
Alternatively, vanilla sugar can be made by putting a vanilla-pod and granulated sugar together in an airtight jar for at least two weeks. The longer, the better.
Slice 1 vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into 1/2 cup granulated sugar, stir well. Cut the rest of the bean in pieces and add them to the sugar. Shake it every now and then. Use for anything you want to add vanilla flavor to.
Did you follow this recipe? You could share your result here. All you need to do is take a picture with your smartphone and send it to email@example.comMary G.: "I made vanilla sugar with vanilla extract and put on kipferl cookies. So good!!🎄🎄💖💖🎄🎄💖💖"